Starting life as the International Wool Secretariat circa 1936, in 1953 the promotional body (that would go on to become The Woolmark Company) introduced a fashion prize, won the following year by an 18 year old Yves Saint Laurent (dresses) and a 21 year old Karl Lagerfeld (coats).
Initially reinstated in 2008 – and picked up by Chinese designer Qiu Hao – by 2012 The International Woolmark Prize as a proper talent platform was officially back in business.
Today then, the British Isles designers nominated for the prize have been confirmed as Ashley Williams, Danielle Romeril, Ryan Lo and Faustine Steinmetz for Womenswear, and Cottweiler, Craig Green, Liam Hodges and Baartmans & Siegel for Menswear.
Set to be held at the Australian High Commission, on 5th July the eight nominees will present one look in Merino wool as well as a six piece capsule concept to industry figures, from which an overall regional winner will be announced.
Over 70 designers from 62 countries have been nominated for the 2016/17 prize; 12 finalists will each take home AU$50,000 to support their next collection, while the overall international winner – announced in early 2017 – will win AU$100,000.
Amongst those bestowed with decision making credentials are Tim Blanks, Business of Fashion’s Imran Amed and American Vogue’s André Leon Talley.
Photo: Hill & Aubrey